Education Minister to allow parents to negotiate with schools on uniforms

The statement was made as the Minister made the announcement of several new schools being built

The Education Minister appears to be ruling out legislation that would force schools into allowing generic uniforms.

Today, Bruton appeared to have ruled out legislating in the area, but says he will introduce a parents charter later in the year: "That will provide that parents will be protected and they will require to be consulted in respective to any decisions that are made, for example with school uniforms."

He says he's encouraged by the latest credit union survey that shows the cost of uniforms is beginning to fall.

Minister Bruton says he's not for dictating what school should do on uniforms: "I don't think people should be sitting in Marlborough Street deciding for every school and every locality about how they decide these things. But by having a parent's charter, and we making sure that that's honoured and respected, I think we can make sure that at local level, parent's views are taken into account for these decisions and I think that's the right away, and I think that's in accordance with the traditions of local communities making their own minds up."

The Education Minister says he'll give parents the right to negotiate with schools on uniforms later this year.

For years there's been debate around the cost of uniforms and demands for generic types which are cheaper than those with crests.

Richard Bruton made the announcement as he revealed five new schools are to be built in the East and South East as public private partnerships in Wicklow, Wexford, Carlow and Meath.

These will be built and run by InspiredSpaces and the cost to the tax payer to spread over 25 years: "It has the advantage of being able to build sooner, than if we were totally reliant on the Exchequer for funding, and we get a state of the building, and we have these contractual commitments that keep it in mint condition for many years."

Construction on some is already underway with the first to be opened in 13 months time.